North Korea crackdown: Kim Jong-un announces HARSH punishments for citizens ignoring rules

A North Korean official has broken-cover to reveal citizens face more than three months of hard labour if they are caught not wearing a mask in public. Those caught trying to flee the country into neighbouring China face a year of disciplinary labour, according to a second source.

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in North Korea, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, following reports of a surge in cases near the border between North Korea and China, a range of new precautionary measures have been enforced, including the mandatory wearing of face coverings and strict social distancing measures.

On July 1, officials in Pyongyang announced an immediate crackdown, including ordering students back on holiday, Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Korean Service reports.

An unnamed North Korean official told RFA the new rules on those not wearing masks were enforced from July 16 – with police officers and a crack team students conducting patrols.

The source said: “Beginning on the 16th, an inspection team is being organised here in Pyongyang and also in provincial cities with police officers, and college and high school students to conduct intensive crackdowns on people who don’t wear masks.

“Whoever does not wear a mask will be punished with more than three months of disciplinary labour, regardless of who they are.”

A second source said workers on the Tumen River border between China and North Korea have been threatened with 12 months of hard labour if they are caught travelling or making contact with the mainland.

The Tumen River border is located in the city of Hoeryong and is notorious route used by trade smuggles and those looking to flee.

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The official said: “From the 12th to the 14th, intensive study sessions were conducted for workers and officials of factories, farms, and law enforcement agencies across the country including in Pyongyang, to strengthen our quarantine efforts.

“This is because during the 14th meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party held on the 2nd, the Highest Dignity directly addressed the chronic idleness prevalent among workers on the national emergency quarantine project, and blatant violations of quarantine regulations.

“The study sessions were conducted to establish practical measures for improving our emergency quarantine measures against the matters that the Highest Dignity pointed out.”

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